A ceremonial meeting was held on this occasion on Friday, 14 November 2014, with business partners, state administration representatives and other important figures attending. The last silica wedge was symbolically hammered into the repaired furnace which began being heated up to 1600°C. The reconstruction of the furnace and its related technology took three months at a total cost of CZK 900 million.
The invited guests were taken into the very core of the furnace which forms the heart of every glassworks. As well as the general manager, Gregor Gábel, one of the other important guests, Swiss Ambassador Markus-Alexander Antonietti also spoke of this extraordinary investment.
The reason for the investment is not only to increase output and the quality of production, but also to reduce the demands on energy. "We expect to reduce energy consumption for melting glass by about 20% and also proportionately reduce the relevant emissions," stated Miloš Kostýlek, director of technology and consulting at Vetropack Moravia Glass. This was an immensely challenging project during which the existing Vetropack Melter recuperative furnace was reconstructed into a U-flame furnace. Just to get an idea: more than 5,000 tons of fire-resistant materials and over 500 tons of steel structures were used during the reconstruction.
The latest knowledge and technology of glass melting was applied to the reconstruction of the furnace. The U-flame furnace with a melting tank of with an area of 130.5 m2 and melting output of 350 tons per day is ranked as top technology. The investment project also included the modernisation of related production lines. This technology makes it possible to produce bottles and jars quicker and of better quality. The new annealing lehrs and transport lines of the cold end, including the new palletisers, also meet this objective.
The entire investment project was challenging not only in technical and financial terms, but also with a view to observing deadlines. "First of all, the molten glass had to be released from the furnace and then the furnace had to be cooled down. The reconstructed furnace has to be heated up and filled with cullet and a glass batch. These secondary but processes essential for the furnace took about 20 days alone. The actual reconstruction of the furnace and related technologies had to be carried out in a mere 80 days," said Miloš Kostýlek. The project was planned and coordinated with the other plants of the Vetropack international group, so customers did not feel the three-month stoppage and the intake of cullet was not interrupted either.